Book Review: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

February 2, 2018 Blog, Terry Pratchett 4

Book Review: Wyrd Sisters by Terry PratchettWyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2) by Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #6
Published by HarperCollins, Hartorch on December 16th 2008
Narrator: Nigel Planar
Length: 7 hours
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 373
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Things like crowns had a troublesome effect on clever folks; it was best to leave all the reigning to the kind of people whose eyebrows met in the middle.

Three witches gathered on a lonely heath. A king cruelly murdered, his throne usurped by his ambitious cousin. A child heir and the crown of the kingdom, both missing…

Witches don't have these kind of dynastic problems themselves – in fact, they don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn't have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more complicated than certain playwrights would have you believe, particularly when the blood on your hands just won't wash off and you're facing a future with knives in it...

Reading Challenges: Author Love, British Books Challenge, Terry Pratchett - Discworld


Confession. It’s going to be terrible.

I have never read this one.

As a fan of the witches series inside of Discworld, I would think that I would have gotten to this so long ago! But, sadly, my hubby and I normally listen to audiobooks for the Discworld series and the narrator in this one is not my favorite. I’m so used to Nigel Planner and Steven Briggs that having a new narrator, and a female, throws me off! It took me about a third of the way to get used to her. Fortunately, Nigel Planner still narrates Death, which is top notch, of course!

So, one of the reasons the narration is so odd to me, is that Nigel Planner and Steven Briggs both have a great cadence. One I’ve gotten very used to over the years. I had to play this at 125% to make it sound like it was a normal pace. Then there is the Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg voices. Also something that I had to get used to. Instead of being pleasant and fun, and a bit vicious, they sound grating.

But, after I got this all straightened out, I was able to enjoy the idea that I had no idea how Magrat gets to where she does in life! This is a huge plot line in the story, so I love that I now know all of the ways in which this happened.

This one is hard for me to review though. There is so much going on, but the story is Terry Pratchett. Like usual I was laughing, and nearly crying. But there are some deep themes to his stories that are going to last a long time.

Also, at the front of the book, it talks about the kid, Tom John, that is obviously not named Verence, so without spoilers, that gave me quite a few questions. What I loved the most though, is the fact that these witches basically redid Sleeping Beauty (sort of). Granny Weatherwax also comes up against minds that are quite intelligent. Something she doesn’t encounter every day! This not only throws her off, but knowing who Granny Weatherwax is, it really surprised me but it added something more to the plot. For once, not everything can be fixed with Headology (Terry Pratchett’s way of saying psychology or persychology).
Reading Granny Weatherwax watching a play was hilarious! It’s so great how such a smart woman can have times of gullibility. Magrat and Nanny try to explain the play and it just makes things worse! Best to just put your hat over your eyes and let Granny do what she does best!

“Granny turned slowly in her seat to look at the audience. They were staring at the performance, their faces rapt. The words washed over them in the breathless air. This was real. This was more real even than reality. This was history. It might not be true, but that had nothing to do with it.

Granny had never had much time for words. They were so insubstantial. Now she wished that she had found the time. Words were indeed insubstantial. They were as soft as water, but they were also as powerful as water and now they were rushing over the audience, eroding the levees of veracity, and carrying away the past.”

“The theater troubled her. It had a magic of its own, one that didn’t belong to her, one that wasn’t in her control. It changed the world, and said things were otherwise than they were. And it was worse than that. It was magic that didn’t belong to magical people. It was commanded by ordinary people, who didn’t know the rules. They altered the world because it sounded better.”

They also get to play with demons, whom of course Granny has no real empathy nor respect for. I mean, they’re demons! Magrat, on the other hand, thinks they are remarkable and should be dealt with in a really witchy way. Granny would prefer to use headology and just tell them to go away!

I have to admit though, as hilarious as this is, and it is quite fascinatingly funny, I have not yet read Macbeth. I have read that this has many parallels with Macbeth so I think I must go and read and then come back to this so I can get all of Terry Pratchett’s puns. He uses the real world to make the Discworld but instead of just being satire he puts it up to a mirror and turns it all on its head… again… brilliant!

There is so much to this story line, but again, my favorite is the idea that I now have holes from the later story filled in, that I didn’t even really realize weren’t. I had questions and now they are all answered.


About Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 39 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry's latest book, Snuff, was published in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 45 million copies (give or take a few) and have been translated into 33 languages.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett admitted to being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

4 Responses to “Book Review: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett”

    • Christina

      I probably bore people with how much I talk about this fantastic writer. What is even more interesting is that I kicked and screamed while my hubby was trying to get me to read Pratchett’s first book. He knew I would love it and I just knew I would hate it. And now, more than ten years later, I read and re-read all of his stories and still catch nuances and story lines and jokes that I didn’t catch the first time around! This one in particular was new so even more fun!

    • Christina

      She is! I’m so glad I finally listened to this one. Now to get a physical copy! We’re trying to build our actual Pratchett library. Right now it’s sad! But really, it’s just so much fun seeing what all Granny can come up against. I mean this people sure, but vampires! I can’t wait to re-listen to Carpe Jugulum! Her story line is just fabulous.